The “Lawshe Jewel,” is named for Brother Lewis Lawshe, a Past Master of Atlanta Lodge No.59, F. & A. M.
Brother Lewis Lawshe was born in West Buffalo Township, Union County, Pennsylvania. He came to Atlanta in the summer of 1848 with his brothers Er and William. Lewis was by profession a tailor, so he opened a tailor’s shop in Atlanta.
Brother Lawshe was a noted Methodist minister. He entered the ranks of the Confederate Army as a Chaplain, but only served there for a short time.
Brother Lawshe’s service in Freemasonry was both extensive and note-worthy. He first served Atlanta Lodge No.59 as Junior Warden in 1855, then as Worshipful Master in 1857 and 1858. He served as Treasurer of the Lodge in 1860. In 1861, he was again elected Worshipful Master and served in that station through 1865, serving as Worshipful Master during one of the most trying times in our nation’s history, that is, during the War Between the States.
Brother Lawshe was Excellent High Priest of Mt Zion Chapter in 1855, 1860 and 1863. He served the Grand Lodge of Georgia as Senior Grand Deacon in 1863 and as Deputy Grand Master in 1864 and 1865. He served as Grand Chaplain in 1867 and 1868.
Although Brother Lawshe was never Secretary of the Lodge, he kept his own minutes written by him in pencil in a child’s note book. In 1934, these minutes were turned over the Worshipful Brother Robert W. Standridge, then Secretary of Atlanta Lodge. In 1938, Brother Standridge gave those minutes to his successor as Secretary, Worshipful Brother A. B. Foster. These minutes were apparently burned when the Masonic Temple was destroyed by fire on September 7, 1950. This was a great loss, because not only did they contain the activities of the Lodge during those dark days, but they also contained some accounts about other Masonic bodies in Atlanta and of the burning of the City of Atlanta immediately after Sherman’s occupation of the city. Some time after the Civil War, Atlanta Lodge commissioned this jewel to be made and presented to Brother Lawshe. This jewel was made of almost pure gold and was suitably inscribed. Brother Lawshe’s blood and Masonic Brother, Er Lawshe was a jeweler in Atlanta, so we presume he had the jewel made. Brother Lewis Lawshe’s son, Robert, inherited the Jewel upon Lawshe’s death. Robert Lawshe was a professional baseball player, a member of our Fraternity and later a train caller at the Atlanta Terminal Station. Years before his death, knowing the sentimental and emotional value which Atlanta Lodge placed on the jewel, Brother Robert Lawshe gave it to our Lodge. It has been the custom since that time to present this jewel to each retiring Master. In the year 1955, the Jewel was lost by Past Master Albert Ewing on the night it was presented to him. However, through a great deal of trouble and expense on the part of Brother Ewing and others, the jewel was found and returned to the Lodge.